Is My Existence Legitimate?

January 24, 2010

I had cast myself into a new life with all my heart.

But I’d forgotten my head.

Cold reality soon set in. My new digs recalled the toilets at Penn Station: grimy white bathroom tiles were glued to every available surface. Water stained floors and ceilings.

I dropped by the comune to ask about getting a building permit for a renovation—secretly hoping they’d wave me away with the well-worn Sicilian phrase Non preoccuparsi!, Don’t worry, and tell me to go do as I pleased.

Not quite. A goggle-eyed man in a pink cravat presented me with a garbage pail and a list.

A list so long and bewildering it brought tears to my eyes. I’ve translated it to the best of my ability (italics mine).

I’m so doomed.

Sicilian graffiti, Anarchia

graffiti on the back of my house


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7 comments to Is My Existence Legitimate?

  • Jann–Thank you so much! This does help a lot. We are into slow traveling as well, so we’ll definitely choose one of the itineraries you’re suggesting. I’ll send your blog to my fellow travelers, I really enjoy it, as well as the links to your articles. I’ll keep in touch.

  • Ciao Jann,

    I think I’d have troubles with Sicilian as well. 🙂

    You replied so fast, I’ll take advantage to ask you something. My boyfriend (American, from Idaho originally, 10 years in Berkeley, CA), 2 other friends from LA and I are planning on a trip to Italy in March-April. We’ll start from Torino, my hometown and then we’ll go south. We have about 12 days to spend in the south and I’d really love to see the Amalfi coast and Sicily, which I never saw in my life (shame on me). Do you think it’s too ambitious to do both costiera amalfitana and Sicily in that time, and if not, what in Sicily would you recommend? There are so many amazing things, from Ragusa to Palermo to Agrigento, it’s hard to pick. We like to meet people and see non touristy things, but of course the temples would be amazing to see too.

    • jann

      Marta–personally, I’m a fan of “Slow Travel,” by which I mean spending more time in one area rather than trying to run around and see everything. So if you go to the Amalfi coast, you’ll also want to do Pompeii for a day, Naples for a day or two or three, Capri, and how about Procida, the darling “authentic” little island just off Naples. (I spent 2 days just on tiny Procida hanging out, loving it.)
      Then, if you have time left over, you should narrow down Sicily to one area. Palermo-Monreale-Erice-Segesta could take a week. OR do the other side of the island: Taormina-Catania-Siracusa. (Taormina could still be quite nice–not too touristy–in March/April.)
      OR you could EASILY do an entire week in the Val di Noto, my area. Choose a town (Modica, Noto, or Ragusa Ibla) as a home base and then take day trips. From Ragusa Ibla you could do fairly easy day trips to Siracusa, Noto, Modica, Scicli, Chiaramonte. I think this is one of the least touristy areas in Sicily, and it’s very laid-back. If you do Catania or Palermo, there will be typical city stress. Another idea would be to take a boat from Naples down to the Aeolean islands. I’ve never been but people love it. Hope this helps!

  • So interesting to read this. I moved to Canada recently and started having to deal with renovations (not home, lab). I thought Canada resembled Italy, my homecountry, but I guess I didn’t know exactly how bad it was in Italy, really.. Good luck with everything!

    • jann

      Ciao Marta, grazie! And best of luck with your renovations in Canada. Doing something big like a renovation in a new country is always a little scary, I guess. I have language problems, too–not just with Italian but with Sicilian. It looks like you’re fluent in English, so that should surely lessen the stress for you!

  • jann

    Ha ha! Thanks for your comments, Margo. And thanks for slogging thru earlier posts. xxxjann

  • Margo Chavez

    I know that you continue to exist, despite being doomed. I saw you just recently. You should have asked me to tell them that you exist.

    I can hardly wait to hear the rest of the story…

    And I have been enjoying going back and reading the earlier entries. Right on, Jann!

    The photos are exquisite.


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